Philippians 4: 1-19
In today’s passage, Paul’s plea for rejoicing, saying in verse 4, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice,” challenges each one of us in what our main thing is, a source of our joy.
We may think of joy as a private overflow of good feeling in response to happy circumstances.
For Paul, joy is shared, not individual; a byproduct, not an end in itself; a discipline of Gospel living, not a feel-good factor; thus, joy is a command, not an option dependent on our circumstances.
Therefore, joy was not an escape for the pain of his life; it was a reconsideration and reinvestment in life from a different view. In other words, joy was a practice of regarding the same painful situation from another angle, one that made him see his struggle in prison as an opportunity for God in which he asks his beloved friends at Philippi and us to stay in gratitude, even in difficult situations, such as Covid-19.
The “anything” and “everything” of our life can be sources of endless worry. So, we all wish we knew a perfect solution to fix all kinds of our problems.
We probably have a tendency to have an illusion that a big solution may bring joy when time comes. However, Paul’s solution for us in the passage seems very simple, “letting your gentleness or forbearance be known to everyone, letting your requests be made known to God, and beloved whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable.”
Words for “joy” and “rejoicing” appear more than a dozen times in the book of Philippians,
which is the letter from Paul’s prison cell. Unlike Paul, I wonder if our joy may become too optional or emotional depending on what our circumstances are.
Paul’s words to the church, “Rejoice in the Lord always,” calling us to say what the source of our joy is.
Joy may appear when we stand in gratitude and God’s grace.
Joy may emerge when we reconsider our painful situation from another angle.
Joy may be seen with us and through us when we keep on doing what seem like ordinary acts. Amen.